Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

School staff

Mike Gleeson

Professor Mike Gleeson

Professor of Exercise Biochemistry

Tel +44 (0)1509 226345

Location HE.1.07


Frame from video Professor Mike Gleeson talks about his research

Professor Mike Gleeson graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham and then completed a PhD on the effects of diet and exercise on energy metabolism at the University of Central Lancashire. He then worked as a research fellow at Salford University and a lecturer in veterinary physiology at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to Aberdeen University in 1985. There he teamed up with Ron Maughan and Paul Greenhaff and worked on research projects investigating the effects of dietary manipulation on metabolism and performance in high intensity exercise.

In 1987 Mike was appointed senior lecturer in human physiology at Coventry University where he became interested in the effects of exercise on immune function.

In 1996 he was appointed as a senior lecturer in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham and in 1999 he was awarded a personal chair in exercise biochemistry.

Mike moved to Loughborough University in October 2002 as the new Professor of Exercise Biochemistry.

Over the past 30 years he has published over 150 full peer-reviewed papers on exercise physiology, biochemistry and immunology and sports nutrition. He has also coauthored textbooks in exercise biochemistry, sport nutrition and exercise immunology.

He is a member of the Physiological Society and the International Society of Exercise and Immunology. He is a fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and the European College of Sport Science.

He is a past editor of the Journal of Sports Sciences and is currently associate editor of Exercise Immunology Review; he is also a member of the advisory boards of several other journals including the European Journal of Applied Physiology, the Journal of Sports Sciences and Immunometabolism.

He is a keen tennis player, a bit of a cinema buff, and an armchair football fan.


Mike's recent research has focussed on the effects of exercise, intensified training and nutrition on immune function in athletes. He is particularly interested in markers of immune function that are predictive of infection risk in athletes and in possible nutritional interventions that can limit stress responses to exercise and/or boost immunity.

He is also interested in exercise metabolism, thermoregulation during exercise, nutrition for sport, and the detection and prevention of overtraining in endurance athletes.

In recent years his research has been supported by Sport England, GlaxoSmithKline, Nestle, Yakult, the Gatorade Sport Science Institute and the Football Association.

Selected Recent Research Projects and Sources of Funding

  • Influence of strategic sports supplement ingestion during an intensive training period on performance, markers of overreaching, anti-inflammatory aspects of immune function, sleep patterns, appetite and energy balance. Gatorade Sport Science Institute, £100,000. November 2012-October 2013.
  • Influence of vitamin D and CMV/EBV serostatus on infection incidence during 4 months of winter training in a student cohort of endurance athletes. Gatorade Sport Science Institute, £15,000. August 2012-January 2013.
  • Effects of a probiotic intervention on infection, cold symptom duration/severity and mucosal immunity in endurance athletes. Yakult, £198,300. Co-investigator: NC Bishop. September 2010 – October 2012.
  • Effects of an anti-inflammatory probiotic intervention on muscle soreness and markers of inflammation and muscle damage following eccentric exercise, GlaxoSmithKline, £33,000. Co-investigator: JP Folland. May 2009 – October 2009.
  • Effects of a probiotic intervention on infection, cold symptom duration/severity and mucosal immunity in endurance athletes. GlaxoSmithKline, £49,300. Co-investigator: NC Bishop. January 2009 – October 2009.
  • Effects of Yakult probiotic on mucosal immunity and infection risk in an athletic population, Yakult, £69,400.  Co-investigator: NC Bishop. November 2008 – September 2009.
  • Influence of polyphenol (dark chocolate) ingestion on hormonal, cytokine and immune responses to prolonged exercise. Nestle Research Center, £37,850 (September 2005 - July 2006) and £66,280 (May 2007 - November 2007).
  • Modulation of the migratory properties of T lymphocytes following prolonged exercise by carbohydrate feeding. GlaxoSmithKline, £94,627. Co-investigators: NC Bishop, C Hewitt (Leicester University). May 2006 - October 2007.

External activities

Selected External Research-Related Roles

  • Associate Editor of Exercise Immunology Review.
  • Member of editorial board of Immunometabolism, the European Journal of Applied Physiology and editorial advisory board of the Journal of Sports Sciences.
  • Member of International Life Science Institute Expert Group on Nutrients and Immune Resistance to Infections, 2003-to date.
  • Member of ECSS Expert Group on the Overtraining Syndrome: Causes, Consequences and Prevention, 2005-to date.
  • Vice-President (2005-07) and President (2007-09) of the International Society of Exercise and Immunology (www.isei.dk).

Selected Invited Conference Keynote and Speaker Presentations

  • Gleeson M (2012). Fighting fit – how exercise affects your immunity and susceptibility to infection. Association for Science Education Annual Conference, Liverpool, 6th January 2012.
  • Gleeson M (2011). Nutritional support to maintain proper immune status during intense training. Nestle Sport Nutrition Conference, Cala D’Or, Mallorca, 7th-8th December 2011.
  • Gleeson M (2011). Immunosuppression in sport and life; how can nutrition help? Sport nutrition: Innovative research and strategies for all. Food and Health Forum, Royal Society of Medicine, London, 23rd March 2011.
  • Gleeson M (2011). Monitoring of athletes – are there any biomarkers of infection risk? CSEM-DJO Education Meeting on Immunology of Exercise, Royal Society of Medicine, London, 18th March 2011.
  • Gleeson M (2010). Effect of probiotics on immune function of athletes. Shirota Conference, Tokyo, 26-27th October 2010.
  • Gleeson, M. (2010). Nutrition and the immune system: what works and what doesn’t. Sport Nutrition Conference, Zurich, 15th January, 2010.
  • Blood and saliva monitoring in football. Think Fitness Performance Conference, Tring, 6th May 2009.
  • Effectiveness of immune boosting supplements in athletes. British Olympic Association and Sports Dietitians UK Sports Nutrition Conference, Olympic Medical Institute, London 29th April 2009.
  • Immune responses and risk of illness in elite athletes. XXX FIMS World Congress of Sports Medicine, Barcelona, 19th-23rd November 2008.

Featured publications

  • Gleeson, M., Bishop, N.C. and Walsh, N.P (2013). Exercise Immunology. Textbook for undergraduates. London: Routledge (Taylor and Francis).
  • Meeusen, R. , Duclos, M., Foster, C., Fry, A., Gleeson, M.,  Nieman, D., Raglin, J., Rietjens, G., Steinacker, J. and Urhausen, A. (2013). Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome. Joint consensus statement of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). European Journal of Sport Science 13(1): 1-24.
  • Gleeson, M., Bishop, N.C., Oliveira, M., McCauley, T., Tauler, P. and Muhamad, A.S. (2012). Respiratory infection risk in athletes: association with antigen-stimulated IL-10 production and salivary IgA secretion. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports 22: 410-417.
  • Morgado, J.M., Rama, L., Matos, A., Silva I., Inacio M.J., Henriques A., Laranjeira, P., Rosado, F., Alves, F., Gleeson, M., Pais, M.L., Paiva, A. and Teixeira, A.M. (2012). Cytokine production by monocytes, neutrophils and dendritic cells is hampered by long term intensive training in elite swimmers. European Journal of Applied Physiology 112(2): 471-482.
  • Gleeson, M. and Walsh, N. (2012). The BASES Expert Statement on Exercise, Immunity and Infection. Journal of Sports Sciences 30(3): 321-324.
  • Gleeson, M., Bishop, N.C., Stensel, D.J., Lindley, M.R., Mastana, S.S. and Nimmo, M.A. (2011). The anti-inflammatory effects of exercise: mechanisms and implications for the prevention and treatment of disease. Nature Reviews Immunology 11: 607-615.
  • Walsh NP, Gleeson M, Shephard RJ, Gleeson M , Woods JA, Bishop NC, Fleshner M, Green C, Pedersen BK, Hoffman-Goetz L, Rogers CJ, Northoff H, Abbasi A, and Simon P. (2011) Position Statement Part One: Immune function and exercise. Exercise Immunology Review 17: 6-63.
  • Walsh NP, Gleeson M, Pyne DB, Nieman DC, Dhabhar FS, Shephard RJ, Oliver SJ,Bermon S, Kaj?nien? A. (2011) Position Statement Part Two: Maintaining immune health.   Exercise Immunology Review 17: 64-103.
  • Allgrove, J.E., Farrell, E., Gleeson, M., Williamson, G. and Cooper, K. (2011). Regular dark chocolate consumption’s reduction of oxidative stress and increase of free-fatty-acid mobilization in response to prolonged cycling. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 21(2):113-23.
  • Gleeson, M., Bishop, N.C., Oliveira, M. and Tauler, P.J. (2011). Daily probiotic’s (Lactobacillus casei Shirota) reduction of infection incidence in athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism21: 55-64.
  • Jeukendrup, A.E. and Gleeson, M. (2010) Sport Nutrition: An Introduction to Energy Production and Performance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Second edition. ISBN 0-7360-7962-9.
  • Maughan, R.J. and Gleeson, M. (2010). The Biochemical Basis of Sports Performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Second edition. ISBN 978-0-19-920828-9.
  • Oliveira, M. and Gleeson, M. (2010). The influence of prolonged cycling on monocyte Toll-like receptor 2 and 4 expression in healthy men. European Journal of Applied Physiology 109(2): 251-257.
  • Bishop, N.C., Walker, G.J., Gleeson, M., Wallace, F.A. and Hewitt, C.R.A. (2009). Human T lymphocyte migration towards the supernatants of Human Rhinovirus infected airway epithelial cells: Influence of exercise and carbohydrate intake. Exercise Immunology Review 15: 42-59.
  • Bishop, N.C. and Gleeson, M. (2009). Acute and chronic effects of exercise on markers of mucosal immunity. Frontiers in Bioscience 14(12): 4444-4456.
  • Davison, G., Allgrove, J.E. and Gleeson, M. (2009). Salivary IgA, antimicrobial peptides (alpha-defensins HNP1-3, and LL-37) and antimicrobial activity responses to prolonged exercise.  European Journal of Applied Physiology 106(2): 277-284.
  • Allgrove, J.E., Gomez, E., Hough, J. and Gleeson, M. (2008). Effects of exercise intensity on salivary antimicrobial proteins and markers of stress in active men. Journal of Sport Sciences 26(6): 653-661.
  • Neville, V., Gleeson, M. and Folland, J.P. (2008). Salivary IgA as a risk factor for upper respiratory infections in elite professional athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 40(7): 1228-1236.
  • Hogervorst, E., Bandelow, S., Schmitt, J., Jentjens, R., Oliveira, M., Allgrove, J., Carter, T. and Gleeson, M. (2008). Caffeine improves physical and cognitive performance during exhaustive exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 40(10): 1841-1851.

You can view a fuller publications list on the University Publications Database.